All Time Career Wins
A Bit Of
the outside of turn one- circa 1900
The racetrack at Montpelier Motor Speedway is paved with rich
memories and a colorful history.
The track at Montpelier, Indiana, may be one of the oldest Midwest
raceways still in operation. Beginning in the early 1900's, Montpelier
was nationally-known for its fast speeds, colorful drivers and its
equally colorful spectators. The raceway was quickly recognized as the
"fastest half mile clay track in the country" which is an honor
that it held for many years in the harness racing community. The
timeline below provides an interesting history of how the track has
evolved from half-mile to quarter-mile lengths, auto racing to horse
racing to auto racing again, and how the love of racing continues to
keep coming back to the Montpelier Community.
Over the years, many changes have taken place. The track was
changed to a quarter mile, new grandstands, restrooms and concession
areas were added. Even though the race track at Montpelier has
changed, some things remain the same. The fast speeds, colorful
drivers and equally colorful spectators are still there.
Montpelier Motor Speedway has seen its share of racing "heavyweights".
Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have both raced at Montpelier early in
their careers. PJ Jones and Chad Jones, respective son and grandson of
Parnelli Jones, was also a driver at Montpelier. The mighty "Kinser"
clan have added Montpelier to their list of tracks and we can't forget
Al Unser Sr.'s visit to the speedway.
Looking To The Future
Montpelier Motor Speedway in Montpelier, Indiana, has seen many
changes in its past and is seen by many to be the future of
short-track racing in the Midwest.
Montpelier Motor Speedway, "Indiana's Finest 1/4 Mile Dirt Track"
invites you to become a part of its rich and colorful history.
Montpelier Race Track Montpelier Speedway Time Line
1903 - Adolphus H. Bonham & son, Carl, build a track
in its present location.
1909 - Fair & Driving Association build ½ mile track and
imported dirt from Kentucky to replace the Indiana clay. A baseball
field was established in the infield.
1916 - A cyclone rips through Montpelier & destroys the
grandstand and horse barns. At this point the Association goes into
bankruptcy. The land was then used for farming and planting corn.
1926 - Hal Kelly bought the Fairgrounds and rebuilt the
Grandstand and barns. The ½ mile track was re-laid out and restored.
During the depression years, horse racing interest slowed and remained
so until the beginning of WW2.
1941 - WW2, Racing stops nationwide for the most part.
1945 - Racing resumes on a limited scale at wars end.
1952 - Auto racing comes to Montpelier on the ½ mile
1959 - Car racing interest had declined in the
Montpelier area and was replaced by horse racing once again. The former
Mayor of Portland, Ted Montgomery, bought the track and brought it to
its zenith with large crowds. In 1961 a three day event was held with
additional tents brought in for horse housing due to the number of
1969 - The Grandstand is destroyed by storms and is
never rebuilt for horse racing.
1970 - The last harness race meet is staged.
1973 - Quarter horse interest group buys Fairgrounds and
use it for housing their animals.
****** For a period of fifteen years the track is not
used and falls into a neglected state.
1985 - A local group of businessmen from Montpelier form
a corporation and try to rebuild the track. They were successful in
getting a few horses into the barns to train at the track.
1986 - Auto racing had again proven itself to be gaining
in popularity nationwide and at this point the current ¼ mile track was
established on the infield. The Racing program was changed from Sunday
afternoons to Saturday evenings.
Thanks to the Montpelier Historical Society for all their help and